Coronavirus case numbers keep rising statewide due to the delta variant and vaccine “breakthrough” cases, and local schools have not been spared.

As the state works to roll out vaccine doses for 5- to 11-year-olds this month, the average daily case rate for that age group in New Mexico last week reached its highest point at more than 60 per 100,000, according to recent pediatric reports from the New Mexico Department of Health.

Santa Fe Public Schools counted 40 more cases on campuses between Monday and Wednesday evening — the highest number seen in such a short span this school year.

The district cases reported this week were diagnosed between Nov. 1 and Wednesday. Trouble reaching the families of those with close contacts to cases can lead to delayed reporting of numbers, district spokesman Cody Dynarski said.

Of the 40 newly identified cases, 39 involved students and one involved a staff member. Among the students were five at Wood Gormley Elementary School — and three of the Wood Gormley cases likely were related to a previous case on campus, according to the district.

Twelve cases involving students diagnosed at the small east-side school since Nov. 2 have resulted in 36 identified close contacts, Dynarski said.

Not all of the 36 students and staff members who were identified as having been exposed to contagious COVID-19 cases will need to quarantine, based on their vaccination status, according to state guidelines.

In a recent email, Dynarski said the cases had not derived from the same classroom, and that a possible increase in activities outside of school, such as birthday parties, might be fueling the increase in cases at Wood Gormley.

The rise in cases at Wood Gormley comes after an entire class of first graders had to quarantine and half tested positive in late October at Acequia Madre Elementary.

The district did not account for four of those cases in its regular news releases, Dynarski said, because four of the students who contracted COVID-19 weren’t contagious on campus.

Some parents fear the source of the spread was a teacher who tested positive Oct. 27, shortly before resigning. The district will not release staff members’ vaccination status due to privacy policies.

An employee at Capital High School died Tuesday, the district said Wednesday; Dynarski did not say whether the death was related to COVID-19.

On Wednesday night, the district announced two students at Aspen Community School, four at Capital High, one at Acequia Madre, two at Atalaya Elementary, two at Amy Biehl Community School and one each at Ortiz Middle and E.J. Martinez Elementary tested positive between last week and this week.

The district also announced Wednesday that three Nina Otero Community School students tested positive between Monday and Wednesday.

On Tuesday, in addition to the Wood Gormley cases, the district announced three students at Gonzales Community School, four at Carlos Gilbert Elementary, four at Santa Fe High, two at El Dorado Community School, one at Amy Biehl Community School and one at Milagro Middle School tested positive between last week and this week.

On Monday, the district announced two students at Ramirez Thomas Elementary also tested positive, and that a student at E.J. Martinez Elementary tested positive after being on campus last week.

Finally, a staff member at El Camino Real Academy tested positive Tuesday after being on campus Monday, according to the district.

In a Wednesday news release, Superintendent Hilario “Larry” Chavez said vaccinations were the “most powerful tool” against the virus, in anticipation of the district’s first vaccine clinic for 5- to 11-year-olds.

(9) comments

Jen Hollander

Wait, did I read that right?! SFPS just admitted to omitting 4 cases because they (non medical personnel) deemed all 4 students to not be contagious while at school? Where were all 4 of these students so that they were away from school for 5 days or more before they tested positive? All 4 were out for that long? How could they possibly know exactly when they were contagious? Since when do they get to pick and choose which COVID cases they decide to disclose to the public?

Sabine Strohem

@mark is that sarcasm?

mark Coble

The risk of covid death to 0-19 is almost zero but one death is unacceptable. Time to cancel school, close non essential businesses, double masks and curfew, and closing the state border to the unvaxxed. Just for two weeks to flatten the curve.

Nancy Lockland

We tried that. Look where we are at.

fred smith

only 2? the gd antivaxxers need to be treated like the immediate danger and deranged lunatics they are! they don't want to do the right thing? we have a lot of criminally insane bedspace open. Might do them good.

Joe Estrada

You/we need to get up to speed on this. Twenty-eight percent ( and rising) of all new cases are from people who are fully vaccinated. My girlfriend and I are among that group. Fully vaccinated and boostered, we are both pretty sick with COVID. We wear masks religiously and really don’t go out and about. I think the vast majority of us will get this virus before it runs it’s course.

Carl Friedrichs

Joe you are right that we are seeing breakthrough cases in the vaccinated. But let’s analyze your numbers a little more. If 28% of people with COVID-19 are vaccinated, that means 72% are not vaccinated. In this county, 78% of people have had at least one shot, so 22% of the population has 72% of the cases. So basically, there is about a 70% chance you caught COVID-19 from an unvaccinated person. IF everyone was vaccinated the case rates would go down about 65%. At our hospital here in Santa Fe, people have been flown in from surrounding states. Almost everyone sick enough to be in the hospital is unvaccinated. I am glad you are not sick enough to be hospitalized. The Hill reported a study a few days ago from the Texas department of health that in Texas, hospitalization and death were about 40 times higher in the unvaccinated. Finally if you get COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment is available if you are HIGH risk, whether are not you have been vaccinated. This has to be given within 10 days of symptom onset, the sooner the better. If you need oxygen or have to raise pre-existing oxygen support, it is too late. The mortality rate among people who have had that treatment is 0% so far. You would need to present to the ER for that treatment. Good luck I hope you feel better soon.

Carolyn DM

You seriously need to stop getting your brain washed by FOX ENTERTAINMENT!!

Emily Koyama

Right! Let's get our brains fried by MSLSD!

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